March 18th, 2016 is when we learned the news that our son, Jeremiah’s heart stopped beating. At this point I was 6 months pregnant with him. The news devastated my husband and I. Jeremiah was our first child and we struggled to wrap our heads around how this loss changed everything. Through grieving Jeremiah, I quickly learned that what brought me the most peace was doing things to honor and remember Jeremiah’s life. I felt this desire as his mother to make sure that he is never forgotten and since I couldn’t hug and kiss him and tell him here on earth, how could I express that? I stumbled upon Emma’s Footprints through searching infant loss support online and learned of the memorial walk they were having at Presque Isle. I quickly texted all of my close friends and family and told them to block out the date and plan to be there if they could because we were making a team for Jeremiah! I made bracelets to fundraise for the event because I loved Emma’s Footprint’s mission and how they served families in their community that have experienced the loss of a child. I made and sold over a hundred bracelets and raised over $600 for that first walk to donate in Jeremiah’s name. It was so meaningful for me to see how much of an impact little Jeremiah’s life was able to have in helping future families of loss. I walked alongside my friends and family that day–unified by our love for such a little baby.
We attended the following year as well and were blessed to be able to bring our 7-month-old son, Joseph, with us. It was amazing to see just how much the event had grown in size! What powerful impact it was having! The Memorial Walk will be an event that our family will always be a part of because it has connected us to others who are walking the same journey as we are. It has allowed us to be bold in saying that we had a beautiful baby boy that we never had the chance to raise here on Earth but he is forever in our hearts and he is NEVER forgotten and ETERNALLY loved. — Katie Simonette
The first time my husband and I participated in the Emma’s Memorial Walk was in 2016, six months after we lost our son Uriah.
It was a tough decision on whether or not we were going to create a team for this walk – purely based on the fact that it felt so vulnerable to do. But looking back I am happy that we did because it was our first step towards the process of healing.
Standing on the pavement, waiting for the walk to begin, was the first time we were surrounded by people who understood what we were going through because they have gone through it as well. It was a very symbolic moment for me. We stood there before the walk began we listened to a well-written sermon and a beautiful song.
So many emotions all at once. I remember feeling paralyzed and unable to pull myself together to move forward. Just the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other to move forward was so hard. And then I realized this is the perfect image of what our life has been … At this moment I was paralyzed with emotion, grief, and yet trying to pull ourselves together by taking one step at a time, to walk forward in life, to walk forward towards healing. — Jaclyn Parker
Team BROOKLYN ROSE
My name is Leanna Vidal. My Husband, Carlos and I just recently lost our daughter Brooklyn Rose Vidal on 6/2/18. She was born at 22 weeks and 6 days. It felt like the most unreal thing ever. She was born at 11:43am and she passed just about 2 hours after.
It was so hard to understand and comprehend that I got to meet my baby, hold her and everything, but she was not coming home with us. We had so many plans for her, and we would have truly given her the world, but she got Heaven instead.
Thanks to the cuddle cot, Brooklyn got to stay with with in the room the entire evening, until we were ready to go home the next day. The staff at UPMC Hamot were Amazing! They gave us so much comfort in our time of need.
Emma’s footprints contacted us later that day, and helped us tremendously. Between the beautiful care package they send to helping us with the funeral costs. It’s amazing the type of work your organization is doing. I Will forever be thankful for Emma’s footprints.
Team Baby Z
In October of 2017 when I saw those two pink lines, I was flooded with so many emotions.I was in shock and had some denial – had I finally gone mad enough to be imagining this?
I was so happy that I stopped breathing. It wasn’t intentional it was my first reaction to drop my jaw and hold my breath – to feel that overwhelming euphoria of pure joy.
I was scared, but this is what I had worked so hard for. This is what my heart aches for.
It turns out my fear was real. It all was too good to be true. At 12 wks we learned our baby was sick. He had a lot of fluid on his brain. I couldn’t even think – all I could do was cry. My heart felt like it stopped. I had flashbacks of all I had been through up to that point. Countless trips to Pittsburgh, painful procedures and a million sonograms and no answers as to why this happened.
Fast forward and at 17wks 3days our baby boy was born into heaven on Monday, January 22nd, 2018. The night after my amnio I began to miscarry. I didn’t think my heart could hurt anymore and I didn’t know I had any tears left to shed. I imagine having my heart ripped from my body to be less painful than how I feel.
We just passed his due date June 30, 2018. It was a mixed bag that day. I was emotionally exhausted. I was eager to get through the last leg of this hellish nightmare. I saw it as my final goodbye. I have come a long way in the last 5-6months.